Ancient Monuments

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Blakebillend, tracked target range, 750m WNW and 570m and 740m north west of Penchrise Peel

A Scheduled Monument in Hawick and Hermitage, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.3454 / 55°20'43"N

Longitude: -2.7737 / 2°46'25"W

OS Eastings: 351030

OS Northings: 605979

OS Grid: NT510059

Mapcode National: GBR 962M.9N

Mapcode Global: WH7XV.CXF0

Entry Name: Blakebillend, tracked target range, 750m WNW and 570m and 740m NW of Penchrise Peel

Scheduled Date: 21 March 2023

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM13769

Schedule Class: Cultural

Location: Cavers

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Hawick and Hermitage

Traditional County: Roxburghshire


The monument comprises the remains of a Second World War firing range, part of the Stobs Camp military training area. The range is a tracked target range for training tank gunnery and survives as a triangular trackway, a number of buildings and earthwork. The site lies on high ground overlooking the valley of the Slitrig Water to the east, at around 300m above sea level.

The monument consists of a large triangular trackway, measuring around 395m east to west by around 210m north to south at its largest, and set in a cutting around with concrete revetments in places around most of its length. At the eastern end of the circuit is a small secondary loop branching off the main circuit and leading through a brick and concrete maintenance shed.  Also located here are the Range Warden's hut and the building housing the power and winding gear for the target track. Around 200m to the northeast of these buildings is another isolated single building, built of brick with a lightweight timber and concrete sheeting roof, while around 270m to the north are a series of earthworks believed to be the firing positions for the range.

The scheduled area is irregular and consists of three parts. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17):

a.  The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past or has the potential to do so.  As part of the extensive military training and prisoner of war complex known as Stobs Camp it specifically adds to our understanding of military training at Stobs during the Second World War, which is less understood than its earlier phases.

b.   The monument retains structural, architectural, decorative or other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, the good overall preservation of the layout and individual elements of the range helps us to understand how training was undertaken at a site of this type.

d.   The monument is a particularly good example of a Second World War tracked target firing range and is therefore an important representative of this monument type. In particular, it is one of only two tracked target firing ranges known to survive in Britain specifically designed for tank warfare.

f.   The monument makes a significant contribution to today's landscape and our understanding of the historic landscape as a part of the extensive military training and prisoner of war complex known as Stobs Camp.

g.  The monument has significant associations with major historical events. It is directly linked to the Second World War, one of the defining global events of the 20th century.

Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past) 

The Blakebillend tracked target range was a key element of the substantial military training area known as Stobs Camp during the Second World War. The range was designed around the need during the Second World War for training tank gunners to hit moving targets. The main element of the range is the triangular trackway circuit. This worked using a small cart on which the targets could be mounted, and a winding system was used to send this cart around the circuit, and gunners would practice hitting the moving target. The trackway was set within a cutting around its length, reinforced with concrete in some areas, to protect the cart itself from the practice rounds. Adjoining the eastern end of the trackway circuit is a small secondary loop, around which supporting facilities for the range are grouped, including the range warden's hut, the maintenance and storage shed for the target equipment and the power and winding machinery house.

Around 200m northeast of the range is another building. Its isolated location away from the other elements of the range and the design of the structure, incorporating a lightweight roof which appears to be designed to lift away in the event of a blast, suggests it may have been used for storing training munitions. The final element of the range is a set of earthworks around 270m north of the circuit, and these appear to be the remains of the firing positions for the range.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past) 

The range lies on a gently sloping terrace partway up the eastern side of Stirkcleuch Height and is aligned facing towards the higher part of the hill, providing a safe backstop for any stray rounds during training.

Stobs Camp was one of the largest military training sites within Britain in the first half of the 20th century and it was used by hundreds of thousands of troops over its operational lifetime. The site first began operating in 1903 and it remained owned and used by the military until 1957, when most of the site was sold, with the remainder a few years later.

The Blakebillend range is an important part of the Stobs Camp complex, particularly during its later period of use as a training facility. The continued use of Stobs for military training through the Second World War and beyond is well documented. However, in contrast to the extensive range of documentary information resulting from the First World War use of Stobs, there is very little detailed information on the use of the site during this later period. For example, while Regimental War diaries record certain tank units spending time at Stobs (See Associative Characteristics below), there is very little detail contained within them on the actual training they undertook at the site. As a result, the archaeological remains of the training areas themselves, such as Blakebillend, have the potential to contain valuable evidence and information on the techniques and equipment used in military training during the Second World War.

The development of tank warfare during the 20th century necessitated the development of specific training regimes to prepare crews for active service. In the case of the Blakebillend range, the purpose of the training area was to develop the required skills of accurately targeting and firing upon a mobile enemy unit. The Blakebillend range is the only known example of this type of tank gunnery training range within Scotland, although another partially surviving example of a similar design is located within Dartmoor National Park (Devon & Dartmoor HER Number MDV27370). The function and design of the Blakebillend range also has parallels in tracked target ranges within Scotland used for the purpose of training aerial gunnery skills during the Second World War, including at Tain (SM13653) and Baldoon (SM13739), although the aerial gunnery ranges are significantly smaller in scale in comparison to Blakebillend.

The wider landscape around the Blakebillend range contains extensive further remains of the military training area at Stobs. Other remains still identifiable within the former training area are the remains of the main camp at Barns (SM13767), around 3.5km north of the range, firing ranges at Barnes Moss and Penchrise (SM13755) and areas of First World War training trenches at Acreknowe (SM13768).

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements) 

The monument is a part of the substantial military training and internment camp complex at Stobs, directly linked to both the First and Second World Wars. The Stobs Camp complex is highly significant as an example of both a military training site for much of the first half of the 20th century, including both world wars, and as a First World War internment site for both civilians and later prisoners of war. The complex has a high potential to inform us about many aspects of military and civilian life during the First and Second World War, and their impact upon Scotland's society, economy and population.

Regimental War diaries now in the Archives of the Bovington Tank Museum give some insight into the tank units that spent time at Stobs, and although they do not include any specific details of the training undertaken, it is likely they would have used the Blakebillend range while at the camp. The units recorded as spending time at Stobs include the 12th Battalion of the Royal Tank Regiment from June – November 1942, the 145th  Regiment of the Royal Armoured Corps (R.A.C.) in June and September 1942, the 144th Regiment of the R.A.C. from March – May 1943, the 148th Regiment of the R.A.C. from November 1943 to February 1944 and the 15th/19th King's Royal Hussars of the R.A.C. in May 1944. 

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 284436 (accessed on 16/08/2022).

Devon and Dartmoor Historic Environment Record Number MDV27370: (accessed on 16/08/2022)

Stobs Military Camp Hawick Scottish Borders. 2016. Homepage - Stobs Military Camp Hawick Scottish Borders. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 11 May 2022].


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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